Customer relation is very important to any business. The way you interact with your customers goes a long way in influencing the success of your business. Bad customer rapport can have an adverse effect on your business likewise can good customer rapport have a lasting positive effect on your business.
Several organizations make use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a means of keeping track of customer activities, also, CRM can be classed as part of general sales and marketing activities. Tools like Microsoft Excel have always come in handy for such activities, however, when dealing with several marketing campaigns and several customers. Tools like Excel can be so strenuous, which is why many organizations make use of CRM tools.
The Features of CRM Tool
A Customer Relationship Management tool is a software that deals with how a business manages its customer interaction. The tool also serves as a platform that enables salesmen to record, track, compute all vital customer information and data into a single database. A CRM has three distinctive features, and they are:
- CRM serves as an interactive and commanding tool. For instance, the sales representatives at an organization can interact and interface with prospective clients and existing ones in real-time.
- The CRM process can be totally automated in the sense that the whole sales workflow can be put on automation and digitalized.
- It presents hi-tech opportunity management and analytical tools. This allows your sales team to forecast future demands and growth rates for certain products and services. Also segmenting the market depending on customer reaction to newly released products and services and many other uses.
Popular CRMs in the Market
The market is filled with various kinds of CRM of which we have top names such as SAP, Oracle/Siebel, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics. However, the CRM listed above are examples of CRM tools that are Closed Source Software. That means you use them as you bought and little to no customization can be done.
There are CRM tools that are Open Source Software like Sugar CRM and Zurmo CRM that are very customizable to meet your precise business requirements. Irrespective of the kind CRM you select, at times the installation and management of the software can be nightmarish. It can also be costly for small and medium companies to buy outright.
The alternative to this is embracing a Hosted CRM. CRM hosting can help your small and medium as well as large businesses. Hosted CRM is a CRM based on the cloud offered to you straight from the hosting vendor and it is classed as Software as a Service (SaaS).
The Merits of a CRM Hosting
- All the things are at the click of the button and you are set and good to go in a matter of minutes.
- Cost-effective; CRM hosting allows you to use the CRM tool on a subscription basis where you pay a fixed monthly rate based on the type of plan you select. When you compared this to the thousands of dollars you will have to pay to get the CRM tool fully.
- Less worry concerning software and hardware maintenance and upgrades. The software vendor automatically takes care of that for you.
- The amount you get to spend on acquiring customers is way lower, which helps you maximize your budget and profits.
- Improved customer service; with all the information at your fingertip, you can quickly garner data and information. This, in turn, can help you highlight the areas where you are lacking in customer service, and make the needed adjustments.
- Transfer of current marketing and sales information is easily transferrable to a new system. Actually, many CRM host provides this option as an additional incentive for you for buying into their services.
- Safe and Secure data; the CRM provider goes the extra length to ensure all your data are secure. The CRM tool is located on highly safe and secured servers in data centers. This takes away all the problems of having to secure a self-run CRM in terms of cost and stress.
The Demerits of CRM Hosting
- You lack total and direct control over the state of your customer information. Since you are putting your customers’ information and data in the hand of a third party, you can’t be totally sure of the state of the data. Anything can happen that can jeopardize your customers’ data. For example, in the case of a natural disaster that can wipe the CRM vendor data center off completely. As preventive measure ensure there is a Service Level Agreement that state how exactly you are going get your customer data back in such situations.
- You are left totally at the whims of the CRM vendor. As you are hosting your customers’ data on a third-party provider. You don’t have any power over any sudden changes or decisions the CRM vendor may carry out. For instance, as you settle in on the looks and feel of a CRM tool. The provider can make sudden changes that you have no hand in and no take on the decision.
- The issue of availability and stability of internet service. To make use of CRM hosting you have to be connected to the internet. Even thou most CRM software provider assure of high uptime reliability of around 99.9 percent. Nevertheless, internet service is still not guaranteed to be free with little nags and slags here and there. This may seriously affect the utilization of CRM hosting negatively, particularly in your hours of need.
As you make the decision to take up CRM solutions, you should carefully weigh up your options and select the most appropriate CRM tool. Bear in mind that even thou CRM is extremely useful for organizations, and every business should try to get one. Eventually, not every business will need CRM software. Your business requirements and strength will greatly influence your decision to choose a CRM tool.